Juergen Teller @ ICA


Walk into the ICA anytime between now and the next week and you will be confronted straight on with a nude image of a 68 year old Vivienne Westwood grinning at the camera. No-one can deny that Juergen Teller knows how to make an impact. His new show at the ICA is a display of 20 years of nudity and fashion but also nature and family.

‘Woo!’ is a fitting name for the photographers London show. Teller is most famous for his fashion photography. Fashion being an industry notorious for its glitz and glam, the title seems to encompass all that it is famous for. On display are the infamous Marc Jacobs ads featuring the infamous photograph of Victoria Beckham’s leg poking out from behind a Marc Jacob’s shopping bag. Teller’s photographs have a way of causing the viewer to burst out with laughter; no-one else would dare cover Mrs Beckham’s face. One room is covered entirely in a floor to ceiling collage of Teller’s advertisement campaigns and magazine spreads. This room is a testament to the photographer’s impressive editorial resume with work for Celine, Helmut Lang and Jigsaw on display. Among the famous faces here we see everyone from Kristen Stewart to Zayn Malik from One Direction.

Nudity is also a common theme. Young and old are shown without their clothes in intimate environments, everyone from Teller’s own daughter to Lily Cole are on display. ‘Woo!’ also acts as a cheeky connotation to the nude images on display.

However the show is not all fashion and parties. There are also intimate photographs of Teller’s family and his own self portraits. The Irene Im Wald series is a series of work in Teller’s hometown in Germany following his mother Irene in the forest with a delightful narrative underneath which juxtaposes the images and affectionately describes his relationship with his mother.

In another softer side, some other more natural imagery is also presented. This is in the form of pictures of nature, flowers and animals. My favourite of which is an image of an octopus on a bed, which may well have suggestive connotations of its own.

This show is a fabulous display for anyone interested in fashion, photography and contemporary culture. Everyone from Bjork to Kurt Cobain has been snapped by Teller and his prints are definitely worth viewing up close in the flesh instead of on the pages of the glossy images in which we usually see them.

Juergen Teller: ‘Woo!’ is on display at ICA until 11 February

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier aka Gallery Girl is a writer and curator based in London. Her work has been featured in publications including Dazed, Hyperallergic and Vogue Arabia. She was curator of Perpetual Movement during AWAN Festival 2018 and in 2019 had a residency at the Lab at Darat Al Funun in Amman, Jordan. She has also worked with Armenia Art Fair for its inaugural edition and previously worked as an editor at I.B.Tauris Publishers. In 2019 she co-founded Arsheef, Yemen’s first contemporary art gallery. She has given workshops at Manara Culture in Amman, Jordan and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK. As of 2020 she is currently in law school, with the ambition of greater understanding the intersection between art and the law.

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